Antonio Stradivari, Cremona, 1696, the 'Archinto'

Viola: 40151

Part of the quartet of Strads owned by Count Archinto

Back: One-piece

Varnish: Red-orange

Length of back: 41.35 cm

Upper bouts: 18.35 cm

Middle bouts: 12.42 cm

Lower bouts: 24.02 cm

There are 26 additional images in the archive which are not available publicly. Please contact us for more information.


"When the viola was opened recently, it was clear that the upper linings were considerably lower than the bottom set. It is fairly certain that the ribs were not actually made to this height by Stradivari, but were planed down within the first hundred years of the instrument's life."

Camilli's creation, John Dilworth, The Strad, June, 1966, London

"Count Cozio di Salabue (1755 - 1840), the collector and historian of the violin-family, noted that the ribs of this viola were unusually low and commented that this may have resulted in a restricted tone. The side view of the Archinto shows the comparatively low ribs combined with high arching to give a full, rounded profile. The sound has been characterised as warm, sonorous and penetrating."

Museum & Collections - What’s on - Royal Academy of Music

"Apart from the modern neck, the only real disturbance the viola has suffered is to the ribs. They are relatively shallow, a fact noted by the violin collector Count Cozio di Salabue early in the XIXth century. It is obvious from the condition of the interior that some four millimetres has been removed from the upper edges of the ribs, presumably at the whim of an earlier owner."

Antonio Stradivari - Catalogue of the 2008 Exhibit in Montpelier, Peter Biddulph, Frédéric Chaudière & John Dilworth, Antonio Stradivari - Catalogue of the 2008 Exhibit in Montpelier, Montpelier

Count Cozio's notes, October 29, 1816: "I have seen the viola made by Antonio Stradivari with genuine label by the maker dated 1696. It was owned by Count Carlo Gambara of Brescia, but now Count Archinto of Milan bought it for 106 luigi through Serafino Trivelli, musician from Brescia.

Description: Generally speaking it is an excellent work in XVIII century style. Red varnish, already worn in many parts because it was played a lot. It is a C.V. model, that is the model made expressly for the Grand Duke of Tuscany on October 4, 1690 - the drawing of the top of the viola owned by Nobelman Carlo Carli, and made by Giuseppe Guarneri, is at the back of paper 52. The purfling is right on the sides, in other words including the purfling in the measurements of the instrument we have the right size; the edges cover the sides, as well as the distance from them.

The sides' height has been reduced as follows: at the neck block it is 1 polici, and 2 ponti; at the end block it is 1 polici and 3 ponti. So the sides have been already lowered of almost 2 ponti. . . . The bass bar was already badly changed. . . .

One-piece back, fine but not too wide grain [...] with two dowels in the purfling to fasten it to the blocks. . . .

Francesco Mantegazza told me that he saw the instrument at [the residence of] Mr. Rolla Alessandro as soon as it reached Milan. He listened to it; its voice was good, but not of a great quality. . . ." (pp. 268-269)

Memoirs of a Violin Collector: Count Ignazio Alessandro Cozio di Salabue, Memoirs of a Violin Collector: Count Ignazio Alessandro Cozio di Salabue, Baltimore


until c. 1800 Count Carlo Gambara
c. 1800-1861 Count Giuseppe Archinto
from c. 1861 Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume
in c. 1870 Charles Willemotte
in 1873 Abel Bonjour
in 1873 George Henri Marc Muntz
... ...
in 1886 Sold by W. E. Hill & Sons
1886-1890 John Rutson
from 1890 Royal Academy of Music, London

Known players

Maxim Vengerov, Paul Silverthorne, Roger Bigley, Watson Forbes

Certificates & Documents

  • Dendrochronology report: Henri Grissino-Mayer, P. Sheppard & M. Cleaveland (2001) Dating the youngest tree ring to from 1685.
  • Dendrochronology report: John C. Topham, Surrey (2000) Dating the youngest tree ring to 1679.

Cozio holds copies of many certificates and other documents, some of which are available to view on request. Please contact us if you wish to view a particular document. (Note that we do not always have permission to share documents.)


  • Antonio Stradivari - Catalogue of the 2008 Exhibit in Montpelier, Peter Biddulph, Frédéric Chaudière & John Dilworth, Musée Fabre / Actes Sud, Montpelier (illustrated)
  • Antonio Stradivari and His Instruments, William Henley, Amati Publishing, Ltd., Sussex, 1961
  • Camilli's creation
  • Capolavori di Antonio Stradivari, Charles Beare, Arnoldo Mondadori S.p.A., Milan (illustrated)
  • I Capolavori Cremonesi della Royal Academy of Music, Consorzio Liutai Antonio Stradivari, Cremona (illustrated)
  • In defence of the small viola
  • Masterpieces of Italian Violin Making, David Rattray, Outline Press, London (illustrated)
  • Memoirs of a Violin Collector: Count Ignazio Alessandro Cozio di Salabue, Brandon Frazier, Baltimore
  • Museum & Collections - What’s on - Royal Academy of Music
  • The Strad, December, 1987, John Dilworth, London (illustrated)
  • Stradivari Varnish: Scientific Analysis of his Finishing Technique on Selected Instruments, Brigitte Brandmair & Stefan-Peter Greiner (illustrated)
  • The Strad, February, 1951, London (illustrated)
  • The History of the Violin and Other Instruments Played On With the Bow From the Remotest Times to the Present, William Sandys and Simon Andrew Forster, John Russell Smith, London
  • The Strad, June, 1996, John Dilworth, Orpheus, London
  • The Strad 2009 Calendar: The Museum Collection, Newsquest Specialist Media, London (illustrated)
  • Violin Iconography of Antonio Stradivari 1644-1737, Herbert K. Goodkind, Larchmont, NY (illustrated)
  • The ‘Archinto’ Stradivari viola, 1696, Cozio Carteggio feature, Alessandra Barabaschi (illustrated)
  • Violinist Maxim Vengerov is back with Bach – The Seattle Times, Nov 2002
  • W. E. Hill & Sons Photographic Archive (illustrated)


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